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General Complaining

Discussion in 'Safety' started by punktech, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    so my school puts up a dance concert every fall and spring semester, and this time it's a big time pain! it's confirming my belief that God hates te4chies. it seems that everyone has personal stuff hitting the fan, just as work is hitting the fan...so there's a metric ton of manure hitting the fan right now...gah! sorry i just needed a vent...but does any one have a good story to make me feel not so alone??? any story of "holy cow! everything that could go wrong is!!!" proportions will fulfill the needs...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2006
  2. SocksOnly

    SocksOnly Member

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    Well, last year during the opening night of Beauty and the Beast, we had a real, working fountain (it plugged in back stage). When LeFou ran into it to catch the bird Gaston shot, he hit the fountain too hard and water started spraying all over stage left. I had to be the lucky techie who ran onstage with paper towels and cleaned it up (while the lights were on!)

    Later that night we had a chair rip through a backdrop during the black out...I still can hear the RIIIIIIP it made, it was so bad. It was a rented one too, so the school had to pay for it.

    It took more than a few tubs of icecream and a buttload of hugging to relax the crew after that show.
     
  3. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    We do a crew dance as a fundraiser every year. I as the sound guy and a freelance DJ as well as an officer of crew somehow get roped into the whole deal of being MC/CJ (wonder how that worked out?) So anyways, its a tradition that this isnt just a little BS schooldance, this is a DANCE...like, club style, literally. This year we took down jus tabout every fixture of lighting stuff we had in the house (about 250 fixtures, including 3 Intel systems, digital board, the works) and way more than enough sound stuff (i was running my laptop that iusualy DJ with, the sound boards laptop with cues and follow ups, a spin desk...ie, records and spinning and scratching?...about 4500 watts of power, way too many speakers for alittle thing like this..) Took us about a week to finally get everything up and going and tested aand tuned and cued and such. We had lights going to music and everything. Sold out of tickets in half a school day...700 tickets worth i might add thanks to the commercils we did on the anoucements.. Then dont ya know, the day of, all after school activiies cancelled due to snow, and we couldnt even postpone case we needed the gear for a show that weekend... O well..

    And then theres the middle school plays we run tech for. How does the sound guy end up running onstage to clean up 6 whipped cream pies??!!??
     
  4. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    ack!!!

    those are horrible! i feel so sorry about the dance getting canceled, all the work for nothing, i'd be bawling like a baby if that ever happened to me...

    to now add to the fun of this fiasco we're calling a "dance concert" our light board has something wrong with it. it's, i don't know, the best way to describe it is "adding cues to itself"...i think we're going to have to de-bug the sucker after this show...keep coming with the stories though, the crew is getting some form of sick morale boost from hearing them, i guess all it takes sometimes is to know others have been though the inferno too.
     
  5. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    Hey, im always glad to be the butt of a joke if its making someone happy man!...eps when its something true and i find funny looking back
     
  6. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    I'm pretty sure I told this story on the forum already but if you haven't heard it before it might help to cheer you up, then again it still cheers us up every time someone tells it, i fact it gets better each time. So anyway...

    We had just gotten back from a break and we were told to be on standby for a concert by the county orchestra. Normally standby means that we'll have to turn on some lights maybe turn on the wireless hand held, you knwo just basic stuff. I showed up about an hour early because I figured I'd do dome homework and be there when the orchestra arrived. Soon some people came in and I introduced myself. It turned out that it was the soloist who was a 12 year old piano player prodigy. She had with her her mom and her younger brother. The mom started off by telling me that the heat was too low and her daughter couldn't play if it wasn't warmer. She then started complaining that her daughter needed to practice and couldn't because the piano was locked. She then finished off by telling me to hang up her son's mic for him because he would be recording the concert. I told her I would see what I could do but because we didn't have a piano key there wasn't much I could do. This is a boarding school so the school music director lives nearby on school land. Her house is in walking distance but it's a 20 minute walk round trip. I ended up having to hitch a ride with the manager of the orchestra which was against school rules. He drove me down to her house and I got the key then back up to the auditorium where I unlocked the piano. The mother then proceeded to ask me why I hadn't set up her sons mic. I tried to explain to her that I had just gotten the key for the piano and I would work on the mic next. She didn't care why I hadn't done it but just wanted to make sure I did it. I then proceeded up to the booth and ran some cable to the a FOH bar that runs over the balcony. I then hung his mic and made sure he was all set. He was and after he had set up his expensive recording equipment(this kid is 10 and he had better stuff then we do) I was ready to settle in. I turned on the stage lights for them and found that half the lights were out. I went down to try and diagnose the problem but couldn't see anything wrong. I called up one of the other techies and he wasn't home. A few minutes later he turned up and apparently he had left before I called him. We tried to fix it but with the orchestra chairs we couldn't do much. We told them we couldn't do anything about it and went back to the booth. By this point another techie had arrived and he was the craziest one of us all. We were soon relaxed in the booth, everyone but the crazy techie had a chair. He chose to sit on the counter with his back against the wall. About halfway thought the concert the school's orchestra director came bursting in and told use that the screen was down. Sure enough the projection screen had come down and the director was franticly holding it up with wone hand while conducting with the other. To the orchestra credit they didn't stop playing during all of this. We hadn't noticed because we were all siting down and due to the construction of the booth we couldn't see the stage. We lifted the screen but the school's director was pissed. At intermission she and a few faculty members cam up and took turns yelling at us. Everyone but the conductor was mad and the conductor just made a joke that every time he came to the school something happened and that we should just burn the place down. We still laugh about this incident.
     
  7. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    wow, that's teh suck!
     
  8. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    Definately a Nice story. Since we're all in the mood, I may tell one of my own.

    We were at school (In my school Tech days) and It was the AIS (Australian International School) Idol. A whole group of singers, bands, soloists and stuff all set up on stage. I had got another tech to do sound as I had hired in some macs for the final show. Sound wise it went great. The judges had their handhelds, the desk was maxed out with kit mics, guitar/bass DI's, Keyboard DI's, Wireless Stage mics, Cabled mics, Recording gear, FX Returns. Everything imaginable on a school budget. I was doing lighting. I had hired in an extra console for the gig and got some movers and an extra rack for some cans. I had everything wired up and working great. Soundchecks and stuff were perfect.

    Then 5 minutes before I was hit with the news that the organisers wanted a smoke machine. "S*^T" I thought, what to do. I couldn't be bothered re-patching the desk so I got a member of stage crew to be the 'button pusher', saying I would cue him over cans. So that was ok. The show started without a hitch, until one of the bands. I wanted a fair bit of atmosphere, so I radioed the crew member and told him to 'give it a good ten seconds or so'. This, I assumed would be more than enough for some aerials. Or so i thought..

    10 seconds later, it was still going. "Whats going on", I asked over the cans. No reply. "<name> I yelled, why is the smoke still going?!". This is about 15 seconds now. "Its not going off", I had a voice come back to me. I looked at the other tech and we just looked at each other with complete dismay. "TRY AND SHUT IT OFF", I was getting a bit pumped at this stage as I hadn't isolated the fire alarms in the theatre and we were disobeying fire warnings with people sitting in the aisles etc. 25 seconds later, the smoke stopped. I listened for a while over the blare of the band. Nothing.. "Phew" I thought, that could have been close. I was smiling and shaking my head at the sound guy, when all of a sudden "BEEP. BEEP. BEEP" the alarms started going off.

    I signalled to cut all sound from the band and brought up the house lights. I made the announcement to evacuate quietly, calmly and quickly. Everyone did as they were told, and the whole school went out to the oval. After we had all been checked off, me and the other tech ran back to the theatre to see what damage had been caused. The alarms were off by now.

    By this time the head of secondary school was there. I had a strong feeling we were in for a lot of trouble. "What was the problem?" she asked. I told her what had happened and, to my suprise, she laughed. "Why are you laughing Miss?" I said. "Dont worry about it Dan. I always wanted to run a fire drill from the theatre. So thankyou for doing it for me!"

    We laughed after that, and still do. Good times indeed.


    Like you, 'thebikingtechie' we are also unable to see the stage from sitting down. The desks were too far out, so as a result, we actually cut a U out of them so we could sit at the desks and look out the window. Crazy concepts!

    Cheers.
     
  9. mcgart

    mcgart Member

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    WOW!!

    That is quite an impresive setup for a school! Hiring in another board, movers, macs! Sounds like quite a big event...shame it had to be ruined by a small fire drill (or a full evacuation!)

    We had a surprisingly similar thing happen whilst we were running one of our events. Thinking back, we didn't have quite as an impressive rig as you did (shows the effort we put into these things) but we had the usual - music gear all over the stage, mics everywhere, techies running around the booth in a crazed manner. Then to add another issue to the already crazy scene, we were told the organiser wanted smoke! So quickly down there to drag the machine out of its hiding hole, told the stage manager what was wanted and started the show. Halfway through the show, on the cue for smoke, it went off. Excellent, on time, and working well. But it just didn't stop! By the time I had got down there to see what the hell went wrong it was way to late - all the power had cut, we were on emergency lighting, the racket from the alarm was huge (we had it right outside the booth), and everyone was streaming out the doors! We effectively evacuated the whole school of 1500, something that took half an hour.

    All in all, a great event!
     
  10. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    I'm actually kind of glad that we don't have smoke machines at my school. Knowing our theatre we would probably be setting of the alarms daily and would have flooded the stage at least once by now with the sprinklers.
     
  11. SHARYNF

    SHARYNF Well-Known Member

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    The fundamental problem is that the person installing the detectors put in the cheapest option, a visual detector looking for reduced visability vs the better option in a theater location which detects ionization. The proper detector can determine if it is a fire, or smoke from a fire which will show ionization, vs simply clouding in the air.

    Sharyn
     
  12. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I can't remember if I posted it here or not, but I'll be happy to re-tell it. Years ago when I was a kid working at a community playhouse in Oklahoma, we were doing a production of "a Christmas Carol". We were using a standard homemade dry ice fog machine, you know the kind 55 gallon drum, two hot water heater elements, squirrel cage fan, and a lot of dryer hose. WELL one of the guys operating the fog machine decided he could get better output from the machine if he crushed the dry ice into a fine powder before dropping it in the machine. So they quietly rool the machine into the theater. Right behind the house center back row of seats. They hook up the hose. One guy stands on top of the machine so he can put a foot on the trap door, the latch was broken. Bright boy number one gets the cue and dumps about a gallon and a half of finely crushed dry-ice powder into the machine. bright boy number two slams the lid, and jumps on top of it. About half a second later Bright boy number two is flying up into the air about two feet, as the lid literally blows off the top of the fogger. The thing almost exploded ! It blew hot water all over the back row of the audience. < luckily nobody sued> the theatre filled with so much fog you could barely make out the stage lights. Scrooge and marley tried to keep going for about a minute until the Stagemanager < A Very Smart Lady > got on the god mic and evacuated the theatre before someone succombed to the co2. It was stupid but I will never forget the look inside that theater. COMPLETELY full of fog ! I still giggle visualizing the one guy flying up off the top of that fogger. God I wish I had been standing there to see the look on his face ! Never underestimate the power of sublimating gas !
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Van that is one of the funniest tech stories I've ever heard. Wish I could have seen it.
     
  14. SocksOnly

    SocksOnly Member

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    Yeah, that's probably the best theatre-disaster-stories I've heard.

    ...I kinda wanna flood my auditorium with fog now...but we have too many vents to do it. Kinda sucks (no pun intended)
     
  15. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Active Member

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    one time, I was stuck running lights for our local show-choir, there a really big deal here, as they won in a nation competition, we were sold-out (we have a large theater, I'm not sure, but about 1500 seats I think.)

    We were running the show from our normal lighting plot, except for one special where there are 3 different spots, and a few different colored gelled pars for a couple of songs.

    Well they had this tradition where all the cast and crew get in a circle behind the curtian and share stories, etc. then pray. I knew one of the ellipsoidals used for the 3 spots special was out the day before, so I asked the janitor to replace the bulb (he is the only one that has the bulbs,) I checked to make sure it was working, it was, but as soon as we started to pray, I hear that fizzling crack, look up and just as I thought, its out, the light that starts out the whole show is blown, 3min before showtime. GREAT!!! Sometimes I do think god hates us, lol.

    We start the show with me running up a ladder to use the follow spot to light the soloist, GREAT, its geled blue! and I'm like 4 feet off (I've never actually ran this follow spot before, I just moved to this school over the summer) so after that terrible cue I run down the ladder in time for the next cue, a basic blue wash on the cyc, and standard full stage wash.

    We use what are called "STAR PAR's" if you don't know they are stubnose lights that use a standard bulb (well the kind the ellipsoisals use) and a par lens, we have them for a basic stage wash, and we have 9 along the 4th electric to wash the cyc, 3 in blue, 3 in red, and 3 in green.

    WELL, I notice the blue is getting paler and paler, along with (later in the show) the other colors as well, until by the last song they were pretty much just putting white light on the cyc. After the show I run down to she what the heck has happened and all the gels were melted, all that was left was the part in the holder attached to the brads. I didn't know what the world would have caused this so I went to get replacement gels. WE RAN OUT, as we had just ordered more, but they had not come it yet, so I rummaged around and found some mis-matched colors and put them in and ran the next night with these pars at a lower level, still by the end of the show they were gone. I spent about 3 hours that night trying to figure out what was wrong, as 2 of the 9 were not burning out, eventually I found out that the janitor had replaced the bulbs with a different kind of bulb, I'm still new to this, so I'm not sure exactly what was different, but I ended up replacing the "wrong" bulbs with the right ones, because the janitor's door was unlocked (luckily!) But, I then had to pay $15 a gel at a music store to get the colors matched along the whole cyc, I had it fixed, finally by the third night, which was the most important, as this was the night the mayor, and many of the patrons who give money for the event attended.

    Unfortunately, that wasn't the only problem, for one of the songs, Thriller, I had to bump some different subs as the stage crew filled the stage with fog (we recently re-formated and updated the software on our console and haven't had time to write new effect sequences) this new software was different from the old, and when I bumped a submaster it stayed on, not the effect we were looking for, the stage crew was completly visable, GREAT!!!

    Well, thats my story, since then I've stuck to my good friend, the sound mixer!
     

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